Why Big Cats Need Rescued

Tiger Missing Link Foundation is dedicated to the big cats through rescue and the creation of public awareness. Our rescue efforts are through the Sanctuary, which is a last hope for many of the big cats who have been neglected, abused, or displaced. These cats come to our sanctuary, Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge, from private individuals who find they can no longer care for them, zoos that have surplus animals and circuses or entertainment industries that have big cats who are being retired or can no longer be used in their performances. We provide them with a safe, comfortable home for the remainder of their lives, which can be for twenty years or more.

Many rescue facilities are facing overpopulation. We are all under-funded and have many needs.

The history of big cats in captivity has been marred by patterns of uncontrolled breeding, mismanagement and animal placements with irresponsible owners. These problems have resulted in many big cats being displaced. While there are good homes for big cats, there are also many who are not so well suited to meet their needs. Together with your financial support and Tiger Link's intervention, we can make a difference. We cannot afford to stop now. Your continued support is vital to the daily care of each rescued big cat as well as the continuance of our goals and objectives. The only other alternative to no-kill shelters like Tiger Creek is euthanasia, a nice word for death or the humane killing of an animal. Tiger Link believes that there is nothing humane about killing a big cat that is otherwise healthy. It is not their fault for being born into a world that so grossly mismanages captive animals.

There is a difference between breeding and managing. There is also a time when we must stop irresponsible actions and become accountable as a society in whole. That time, if not long past; is now!

We are at war every day, fighting against overpopulation from irresponsible breeding, ownership, and economic disruption, mismanagement and downright neglect. Other factors include society's lack of compassion and understanding and legislators who fail to provide security for the situation. Any and all of these topics can bring about the collapse of Tiger Link, its wildlife refuge, and most especially, the big cats.

Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge is a last resort of salvation and comfort for these big cats. Yes there are other sanctuaries; however, they are filled to capacity. Many of these other sanctuaries do not even meet the same high standards that we at Tiger Creek meet. You will notice an obvious difference once you have visited Tiger Creek when compared to other facilities. Even many of the so-called accredited sanctuaries tend to not measure up to the same standards of Tiger Creek.

Zoos are not helping any of the sanctuaries. We need your support through action, and we need it now! Many big cats are running out of time, and each day Tiger Link finds itself struggling to continue to be able to reach people like you, struggling to provide the daily care that these big cats need and deserve. Each day we pray for the blessing of giving angels to reach out and help us in our struggle to continue to offer such a great place for Great Cats! There are needs that cannot be met without Your Financial Support, such as food, shelter, and veterinary care.

Our efforts are threatened daily including from external causes such as political knee-jerk reactions by legislators, encroachment by animal rights activists who work against animal welfare groups such as us, and issues like economic disruption, all of which can bring about a collapse.

So now you might be asking: What does all of this mean for the big cats, and what can we learn from the past?

These are the questions that I would like for you to consider examining. The answer is to become a Member and Make a Donation. No, we do not enjoy this quest of seeking out much-needed funding on a daily basis. Every moment that we spend trying to secure financial support is time that could have been spent taking care of the individual needs of the big cats.

We still have tigers, lions, leopards, and other cats in need of transfer to Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge. We are trying to raise the money to build a modest pen just so that we can come to their rescue. These calls come in to us all of the time, and all too often we are forced to turn them away because of the lack of financial support needed to establish a decent sized cage. The intent here is to ultimately provide all of the cats with habitats, but for now, even a small pen is better than the places in which almost all of these cats are living before they are transferred to us. A Healthful diet, fresh water, and quality veterinarian care can go a long way.

Without your support many would be lost forever, but through our combined efforts, we can continue to save these beautiful animals from the horrible conditions that many of them are in. Current projections indicate that there are more than 10,000 wild and exotic cats in captivity, about 2,867 of them are tigers and many are living in deplorable conditions around the country.

Education and public awareness is an essential part of continuing efforts to save these big cats, since we realize that no single place can take care of all of them. By utilizing our rescued felines in education, we provide ambassadors who personify the big cat rescue plight. Through our school programs and the media, we bring children and adults into more direct contact with these magnificent animals and raise public awareness. Our focus here is that these big cats should not be kept as PETS. We know that our efforts also raise the minimal standards of the industry and we constantly work to educate the caretakers of these magnificent animals. It is our hopes that by creating such awareness, audiences reach a higher level of understanding of what the big cats need.

Rescuing the big cats does not come without expense. With our cat population, our feed bill alone surpasses $7,636 per month. Add in operating expenses, veterinary care, habitat construction, and your tax-deductible contribution becomes even more essential. Please feel free to visit us at Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge, or telephone us at 1-903-858-1008 should you have ANY questions about how you might help, or you can send a contribution to:

Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge
17552 FM 14
Tyler, Texas 75706

Once again, thank you for your continued support!

We are often asked why these big cats aren't being released into the wild.

The truth behind the big cats is that in the wild they have little to no habitat left. Further, captive felines were not taught the survival skills needed for release, and most are acclimated or imprinted (accustomed to humans) and do not fear humans. If released they would either not survive or would approach a village or township and be shot or killed. In captivity they rely exclusively on humans for every need to ensure their survival.

There is a hidden side to the captive population that illustrates how the big cats are being impacted. Many zoos take good care of their cats, though there are a few that do not. The population to which we would like to direct your attention is those big cats who are kept within the private sector. Yes, that's right: there are many more exotic and wild cats in the private sector than those within zoos. Certainly there are big cats within the private sector who are being well cared for, but there are many, many more who are not.

Big Cats Are Being Impacted Every Day and the Tiger Missing Link Foundation has identified 9 Major Concerns

It is ironic: we've all heard that cats have 9 lives, but now we can show you more than 9 reasons why they may not!

All across the country, added pressure is being placed upon the big cats. Through our experience, we have identified main problems that the big cats are facing. These pressures are listed below in no particular order:

  • Animal rights groups who say big cats should not be in captivity
  • Failed facilities that take on a collector mentality
  • Kill shelters pretending they are no kill shelters, often acting as concentration camps for big cats
  • So called "accreditation of sanctuaries" lack real programming and standardized guidelines
  • Existing agencies often not working together for the benefit of big cats, zoos included
  • A lack of funding for animals in need of services
  • The lack of public support and uninformed to the needs, and worse - misinformed
  • Private persons / non-USDA licensees who think that big cats make suitable pets
  • Governmental agencies' lack of understanding of what roles they could serve
  • A lack of consistency in the application of industry standards
  • Zoo keepers, staff, and/or volunteers who become a liability instead of being assets
  • Improper breeding and/or husbandry management of big cats
  • Improper diet and/or substandard health care

Legislation that ensures that minimal standards are applied in the care of big cats is needed. However, keep in mind that there are legitimate concerns over just how such legislation should be applied.

"Historically the same mentality that leads people to purchase these animals as pets, has led legislators into thinking that they can regulate them as pets." (Brian Werner, Founder, Tiger Link)

Tiger Link brings new insights through experience to the process of drafting this kind of legislation. These insights ensure that animal welfare guidelines are adhered to and applied to all big cats. Our approach is to create awareness about the needs of the big cats. We feel that the nation needs a congressional hearing that would include all segments of the "industry" by bringing them all to the table to address the needs of the big cats.

TMLF works in many areas assisting the big cats throughout the country. Our response is through the Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge.

To learn more about the captive big cat population, visit Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge.

Copyright © 2002-2013 Tiger Missing Link Foundation. All rights reserved.